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Newport, Minn., neighbors can’t figure out shaking houses

Newport, MN (AP) — Owners of several homes in the St. Paul suburb of Newport say their houses regularly shake — and no one can figure out why.

Homeowner Crystal Oswald said that almost every day she and six of her neighbors feel tremors at their home at dinnertime, and then overnight at 1:30, 3:30, 4:30 and 5:30 a.m. Doors rattle, drawers shake, bed frames vibrate, and the homeowners hear a beating noise.

Neighbors suspected construction on the nearby Wakota Bridge, but the Minnesota Department of Transportation is not working overnight. According to Val Chandler, a state geologist, caves on the nearby Mississippi River occasionally collapse, causing vibrations, but that wouldn’t be timed so regularly.

According to the Newport administrator, city officials have found no explanations but are continuing to investigate.

University of Wisconsin regents consider plan for wildlife center

Madison (AP) — University of Wisconsin System regents are considering plans to build a rehabilitation center for injured wildlife in Oconomowoc.

A proposal in front of the regents would allow the Wildlife In Need Center, a nonprofit group, to build the facility on land owned by UW-Waukesha.

The group would pay for the center with private donations and give the building to UW-Waukesha, which in turn would grant the group exclusive use of the facility.

Plans call for building a clinic that would include multiple treatment rooms and storage chambers capable of handling a range of mammals, birds and reptiles. The building would also include a research laboratory.
The regents will consider the plan this week during a meeting at UW-Eau Claire.

Amtrak ridership down, but still near record high

Washington (AP) — Amtrak’s ridership dropped by more than 1 million passengers during the past year, but was still the second-highest year in the railroad’s history, according to Amtrak.

The nation’s intercity rail operator carried 27.2 million passengers during the 12 months ending Sept. 30, according to an Amtrak Monday. The record was 28.7 million passengers during the previous year, a period coinciding with record high gasoline prices.

Still, ridership was up over two years ago by 5.1 percent.

Ticket revenue for the past year was $1.6 billion, down 7.8 percent from last year but up 5.3 percent from two years ago, according to Amtrak.

Steel makers say global demand is recovering

Brussels, Belgium (AP) — Strong growth in Chinese demand and a better-than-expected global economic recovery will keep steel consumption from falling as sharply as previously expected, according to world steel makers.

According to the World Steel Association, steel use is likely to fall 8.6 percent to 1,104 million metric tons in 2009 — less than the association’s April forecast of a 14.1 percent plunge.

Global steel demand will return to moderate growth and near 2008 output levels in 2010, according to the association, which represents 180 steel producers turning out 85 percent of world steel output.

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